When Can Airlines Refuse to Pay Compensation?

When Can Airlines Refuse to Pay Compensation?

Flight disruptions can be frequent, so every passenger should know their compensation rights when travel is delayed. However, sometimes an airline refuses to pay compensation due to extraordinary circumstances. These are defined as the occurrence of an event that was beyond the control of the airline.

Circumstances under which the airline can refuse to pay

Bad Weather

Weather conditions fluctuate continually, which means a plane may complete its journey on time despite the weather. However, extreme weather conditions like snowstorms and strong winds may delay take off time or landing. With so many variables in play, it could be hard to prove that weather was the reason for the delay. However, if you think the conditions did not warrant a delay or cancellation, you could ask GIVT to do an analysis.


In case of an internal strike involving the airline’s personnel, the airline is responsible for flight disruptions. Therefore, they must compensate for flight cancellations, denied boarding, and delays of over three hours. However, they will not pay for compensation in the event of an external employee strike, which is beyond their control. For instance, if the air traffic controllers are on strike, flights may delay, but the airline will not compensate its passengers.

Security Threats

Any threat to the passengers and flight crew falls under extraordinary circumstances. Therefore, if political or civil unrest poses a risk to air passengers’, flights may be grounded, causing delays and cancellation. Of course, the airline has no control over such circumstances. Therefore, they will not be liable for any inconveniences caused. Additionally, any instruction from the airport traffic control that leads to disruption of the flight schedule is considered an extraordinary circumstance.

Technical Issues

It is the job of the airline to ensure the plane is in good working condition before the flight schedule. Therefore, if there is a delay of over three hours due to technical issues, you should seek compensation. The only circumstance under which technical problem is extraordinary is in the event of a manufacturing defect. Such defects will result in the airline not paying compensation since it is beyond their control.

Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies rarely occur, but when they do, they may disrupt the flight pattern. If a passenger or crew needs urgent medical attention, the plane may land before its destination to save a life. In such a situation, the passengers cannot claim compensation. However, if a member of the flight crew falls sick before the flight departure, the airline is responsible. They need to find a replacement as quickly as possible, or they will be liable for delays.

What to do if an airline refuses compensation

Whether you bought a plane ticket from a regular airline or a low-cost carrier, a passenger has the right to expect appropriate service levels. Therefore, even the low-cost carrier flights must compensate for flight disruptions. In the event an airline refuses to acknowledge your claim, you need to seek legal advice or file a complaint with the airport’s authority. However, you need to understand the reasons for the denial of the claim. Sometimes the extraordinary circumstances are legitimate.

Airline laws may vary from one country to the next, but the passenger rights are not that different. Visit GIVT for additional information and help in seeking compensation for a flight disruption.

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